December 18, 2019

End of year review

In this review, the OPO reflects on our first year. We have made a number of changes to ensure we meet the expectations of the community. This includes redefining the mission to focus on three critical areas: providing impartial oversight, increasing transparency, and building partnerships. We will issue a more comprehensive annual report in 2020.


2018-2019 End of year report (PDF 9.16MB)

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2018-2019 End of Year Report (512) 974-9090     |    | 1520 Rutherford Lane T a b l e o f C o n t e n t s 1.   Who We Are 2.   Transforming Accountability a. Online Complaint and Thank You Form b. Complaint Process c. OPO Data Breakdown 3.   Building Partnerships a. Community Outreach and Engagement b. Transition Advisory Committee c. Equity Space Summit d. Community Leaders Breakfast 4.   Enhancing Transparency a. Website and Official Documents a. Social Media c. Know Your Rights Video Series 5.   Looking Forward a. Racial Profiling Analysis b. Community-Police Mediation Program c.  APD Training Academy Curriculum Proposal A   N o t e F r o m O u r D i r e c t o r On November 15, 2018, the Office of Police Oversight was established via unanimous vote by the Austin City Council. This was a tremendous moment for Austin as the community, City of Austin management and staff, City Council, the Austin Police Department, the Austin Police Association, and many stakeholders came together to expand the scope of police oversight for the purposes of greater transparency and accountability. We have taken a holistic approach to oversight that prioritizes communication, collaboration and a greater commitment to accountability. This new approach is a reflection of our culture and beliefs in Austin and I am confident that we are on the right path! OPO has had an awesome first year, and there is much more to come. We aim to be a national model for civilian police oversight and proof that effective oversight can lead to systemic change and improved public trust of law enforcement. M i s s i o n S t a t e m e n t Our new mission statement reflects input and feedback from the community Our Vision: To enhance a culture of accountability and transparency within policing in Austin W h o W e A r e The mission of the Office of Police Oversight (OPO) is to provide impartial oversight of the Austin Police Department’s conduct, practices, and policies to enhance accountability, inform the public to increase transparency, and create sustainable partnerships throughout the community. OPO Strategic Direction Provide Inform Create T r a n s f o r m i n g A c c o u n t a b i l i t y Online Complaint/Thank You Form One of the biggest advancements we made this year was creating a website where individuals can file a Complaint or Thank You about the Austin Police Department (APD). This service is for anyone who experienced or observed an interaction with APD and wants to provide feedback. Our online complaint form underwent detailed user accessibility testing to ensure it is easy to use. The form accepts anonymous complaints, and the only required information is what happened during the incident, the date, time, and location. The form is also available in Spanish. Complaint Process Manual We created a manual that streamlines the complaint process to enhance structure and consistency of impartiality. OPO and Internal Affairs have memorialized current practices and agreements to create a Joint Standard Operating Procedure. OPO's improved complaint process ensures that from the moment a complaint is received, we oversee the investigation conducted by APD Internal Affairs. We update the complainant of the status of the investigation and the outcome to resolution. Joint Standard Operating Procedure Office of Police Oversight APD Internal Affairs Complaint Process of contacts had a preliminary review. This is an assessment OPO conducts in order to recommend potential policy violations and classification to APD Internal Affairs. OPO Data Breakdown December 1, 2018- December 1, 2019 Responsibility to the Community Impartial Attitude & Courtesy General Conduct & Responsibility Response to Resistance Property and Equipment Common Complaint Allegations Contacts to OPO were made. These contacts originate online, from phone calls, emails, in person, and by mail. Contacts may or may not result in an official complaint. Thank Yous received for APD officers. The Challenge Building sustainable partnerships is at the forefront of our goal to earn community trust. OPO works to utilize focused outreach in a manner that is equity-minded, empathetic, and prioritizes direct connection with community. The following page contains examples of our outreach work. According to OPO survey results and conversations with community, fear of retaliation is a significant barrier to filing reports with our office. We recognize that fear and mistrust in policing and City government is a reality for some in our community. Our goal is to develop strategies to make our processes more accessible to the community, so that challenges and concerns can be properly addressed. The Solution B u i l d i n g   P a r t n e r s h i p s Dove Springs Back to School Bash Presentation to Del Valle ISD Parent Support Specialists Community Engagement Meeting with Asian American Community Leaders Community Office Hours at Ruiz Branch Library National Night Out at Santa Rita Court Know Your Rights Presentation for People Experiencing Homelessness Equity Space Summit The importance of generational and historical context to community fear with respect to law enforcement and police interactions. Exploring how focused outreach as a tool of community engagement can address fear and mistrust and bridge the gap between communities and institutions. OPO presented at Equity Space, a solution-focused conference designed to advance a national dialogue and inspire action to improve the conditions for a socially equitable and inclusive community. We focused on two key messages: Transition Advisory Committee The Transition Advisory Committee is made up of a diverse group of 10 community members that provided feedback on the direction of OPO during our critical first year. Community Leaders Breakfast At this biannual event, OPO invites community leaders to learn more about the work the office has done to transform accountability and increase transparency as well as our upcoming projects. This event also provides a forum for community members to ask questions and address any concerns regarding policing and oversight. February 2019 Community Leaders Breakfast November 2019 Community Leaders Breakfast E n h a n c i n g T r a n s p a r e n c y New Website: External Complaint Led to Formal Discipline External Complaint By implementing a new website, we can now make external complaints OPO recommendations, reports, and formal discipline notices available to the public Samples of Website Content Know Your Rights is a long-term initiative designed to educate the community on their rights when interacting with law enforcement. Currently, the initiative consists of two segments: The Right to Remain Silent and Immigrant Rights. These videos are currently available in English and Spanish. With the help of community volunteers, these videos will soon be available in Hindi, Urdu, Vietnamese, Mandarin, and Korean. The videos can be found on the OPO Facebook page. Social Media  By creating a presence on social media, we enhance transparency and provide the community with information and updates. Through social media, we aim to build relationships with community members and increase awareness of our office as a resource. Know Your Rights Video Series @ATX_OPO ATX Police Oversight Racial Profiling Analysis APD Training Academy Curriculum Project: To address the City of Austin Strategic Direction 2023 Safety Outcome of Fair Administration of Justice, the OPO, Office of Innovation, and Equity Office engaged a data analysis to understand how various ethnic/racial groups in Austin experience Austin Police Department (APD) motor vehicle stops and searches. The report will examine APD motor vehicle stop data from 2015-2018 and will include recommendations to address racial/ethnic disparities. The report indicates an upward trend of disparity in motor vehicle stops for Hispanics/Latinos and Black/African Americans from 2015- 2018. The full report will be released in early 2020. Community-Police Mediation Program In partnership with the University of Texas Law School, we are developing a new mediation program to help all parties feel safe, heard, and comfortable in order to work together to resolve complaints. This course seeks to provide historical context to interactions between future and current Austin Police Officers and the communities they police. This proposal will trace policing in the United States back to its origins and demonstrate how police and race relations are inextricably intertwined. L o o k i n g F o r w a r d The History of Race and Police in America A Complaint or Thank You may be submitted online, by phone, fax, mail, email, or in person. Our office hours are: Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm "The community is yearning for more. By listening to their needs and taking action, OPO is determined to provide the results and the excellence the community deserves." -OPO Director, Farah Muscadin W a y s t o C o n t a c t E x c e l l e n c e i s t h e E x p e c t a t i o n Thank you to our wonderful staff who have contributed to this year's success.

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